Bangladeshi Hindus are facing daily persecution; team India should have taken the knee for them

The October violence has once again brought before the world the very existential threat faced by the hapless Hindus of Bangladesh. They have already been reduced from 29 percent in 1947 to less than 8 percent now

On Sunday night, India miserably lost the match against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup. Two photographs stood out from the event: One, Virat Kohli and his Pakistani counterpart, Babar Azam, hugging each other after the match, showcasing why cricket is called a gentleman’s game.

The second photograph showed Team India ‘taking the knee’ before the start of the match, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The gesture, though a noble one, was unwarranted. For, there was no reason for Indians to apologise to the Blacks in America. If at all, Team India could have ‘taken the knee’ for the Hindus of Bangladesh, who have been left alone to face unending violence — the latest being the planned and coordinated attack on their temples and desecration of Maa Durga idols during the Durga Puja early this month.

Also read: Bangladesh, Fabindia episodes show Hindus are easy targets; they need to learn to defend themselves

Also read: Nothing new in persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh: This time we are talking about it openly and firmly

The October violence has once again brought before the world the very existential threat faced by the hapless Hindus of Bangladesh. They have already been reduced from 29 percent in 1947 to less than eight percent now. Hence, the urgent necessity of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, as put forward by Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi. This was indeed a remarkable step. What can the people of India and the government do to save them? Certainly, a lot can be done.

As we have seen in recent times, especially in the frequently-reported episodes of alleged desecration/blasphemy of Islam, that it has been used as a handy weapon by the jihadi elements against the non-Muslim minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians — especially in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In fact, the two countries have an unceremonious record of desecrating and appropriating thousands of Hindu sacred places. These are real acts of blasphemy.

While every act of desecration/blasphemy is highly condemnable, that never justifies mass killing and widespread brutalities against a vastly outnumbered, peace-loving community, as is happening in Bangladesh — and happens frequently in Pakistan. We know that in most cases of “desecration”, it is cooked-up accusation by the perpetrators to abduct/violate the women and grab the property of the non-Muslim minorities, besides satiating their deep religious cravings. In the name of teaching the kafirs a lesson, these jihadis commit unpardonable crimes.

Identification of the culprit in Comilla has further revealed that he was certainly not a Hindu kafir or a malaun as they are fondly described in eastern Bengal! It is a tragedy of epic proportion that those indulging in this inhuman conduct are themselves descendants of the hated kafirs!

The apologists of anti-Hindu killing spree in Bangladesh, and their “secular” defenders in India, cutting across the political/ideological divide, are trying their best to soft-pedal the violence because of their politico-academic orientation. Often they seek to rationalise it by overlooking the ground reality and its ideological lineage — a legacy of our home-grown, jihad-friendly, “secular” commitment.

The self-serving Buddhijibis need a special mention, including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen — and all those with roots in East Bengal, who even deny the very occurrence of such incidents. Such Buddhijibis are a major hindrance to any meaningful attempt to rescue the victims of the theologically sanctioned “holy” war in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Why we repeatedly fail to come to the rescue of the persecuted Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians, etc, in Pakistan and Bangladesh is because many of our politicians and their retinue of Buddhijibis and media people have been nurtured on this self-defeating mindset where consistent subservience to the Islamic ummah is the sine qua non for upward mobility.

It would be quite revealing to go through the eloquent speeches by the Indian delegation in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), despite its regular unwarranted interference in India’s internal affairs. But then, for India’s ruling class self-goal is very often a routine affair. They are too large-hearted!

Exchange of population was one idea, repeatedly demanded by the leaders of the Muslim League in the 1940s, which was rejected lock, stock and barrel by the leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the name of composite nationalism. Muslim League leaders were honest both in their understanding of historical forces at work and the political agenda they were determined to pursue.

They were committed to their religion and its followers. As against them, most leaders in the nationalist camp were myopic, lacking in understanding of the behaviour pattern of the Muslim society (exceptions apart), and the disaster awaiting the Hindu society. Their politics brought one disaster after another upon Hindus, despite the titanic struggle put up by the likes of Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Swami Shraddhanand, BS Moonje, Veer Savrarkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, the famous Bengali novelist, was one of many such visionaries who saw the futility of Hindu-Muslim unity. An important member of the Bengal Congress Committee, he had clearly told Chittaranjan Das, then one of the leading Congress leaders, that the idea of Hindu-Muslim unity was impossible (See Sarat Rachanabali; Janma Sataborsho Sanaskaran; Vol 5; Kolkata, Bengali Era, 1387, p. 531).

Hindus in both Islamic Bangladesh and West Bengal — the latter with a rapidly growing Muslim population and orchestrated anti-Hindu violence — are struggling for survival. We all know what a strong government in India can do to save the Hindus of Bangladesh, as it did it in 1971, even though India’s intervention came little late to prevent the genocide of millions of them and their flight to India. It is high time we in India come to the rescue of those who gave us the largest number of revolutionaries and contributed substantially in the reawakening of India.

After all, it is the land of hallowed ‘Shakti Pithas’ (7 out of 51), of Bipin Chandra Pal, Surya Sen, Jatin Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin), Trailokyanath Chakrabarty “Maharaj”, Anandmayee Maa, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy, Dr MeghnadSaha, Justice Radha Binode Pal (who gave the dissenting judgement in the Tokyo Tribunal in favour of Japan). The list would be unending.

The Indian cricketers, if they at all had to ‘take the knee’, should have done so for Bangladeshi Hindus. If anyone deserves an apology for not standing up during their plight and persecution, it is the minorities of Bangladesh.

The writer, a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), is the author of the book, ‘Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: Some Reflections’. Views expressed are personal.

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